Voices of Despair
Disclaimer: No characters in this belong to me.
Summary: 18 Drabbles and 3 Double-drabbles on the theme Despair. Silmarillion based.
The sand shines at Alqualondë, washed by sea during years uncounted. They commemorate death here; a few feet away lie the ruby shores. Your brother gave them the jewels they asked for, set them in stone and sand, as far as the eye can see to the north. A sickening reminder of your sins.
Their pipers stand here, always, playing sad tunes of betrayal on their silver flutes. They see you clearest here, as do our own people. I have heard of their memories, how they revel in the wrong against them but I had not seen it before today. It sickens me. How can they glorify death, celebrate it in loving hatred, the way they do?
I feel their eyes on me, their vengeful glee at seeing your widow thread over rubies, revelling in nausea I cannot hide as me feet slide over cold jewels the colour of blood. They can no longer reach you or our sons, all save one dead, so they reach for me, digging their claws in my soul, watching my pain.
I close my eyes.
Our people taught me this lesson long ago, mistakes are paid by those that stay, not those who leave.
I loved that which was bright and golden, that which was different from what I knew. For that I was condemned, hated, as she turned her back on me, called me names, whispered lies in shadows darker than those I knew.
Her lover would not have kept his silence when I did, would not have clung to honour as I did, he would have died long before I broke under the Ironcrown. I longed for light, different from my mother’s darkness but she left me to drown, light turned dark. Cousin mine, who was the first to betray the other?
I stand by broken earth, a dark wound in the green of forest and field where Lúthien once danced.
If I could curse men I would, but I cannot. If I could fault Morgoth the Vala or the Noldori I would, but I cannot. It was my pride that broke her, my love and my protection choking her. Not them. Had I welcomed him, the son of man, as Melian asked, she would still breathe. Her lips would still smile. Her hand would still be warm.
I watch the flowers fall and fade, summer has fled Doriath, never to return.
They whispered of those lost in darkness, of the birth of the race of the Orc, unspeakable horror and torture and of souls twisted beyond compare.
They were the stories we told at midnight, when the lights mingled, soft and dull, they were the nightmares that haunted us as children, our ghoststories and evils under the bed.
What creature am I now, on this cliff, my body broken, my soul shattered and my hands red with blood of innocents. What am I, mother, am I one of them, lost to the firstborn, twisted by darkness. Help me mother….I am drowning…
My hands tremble at the loom, this was not the future I prayed for, not the way he was to live or die. My son.
My hands tremble as they fist in my skirts, tears burn behind my eyes. They left me. My husband first and then a son and daughter and now they are dead, lost to me, in bloodshed and despair. My children.
I begged for death once, to remain unbeeing, and then I begged for life. So many debts to atone. It is my fault they fall and fail and die. I first chose despair and now…
I no longer remember warmth, the light of the trees is distant, more dream than memory. It is always dark here, always cold, endless miles of ice stretching in all directions. I pull her closer to my body, desperately sharing what heat remains. She is so quiet, so still. My little one.
I hate the slushing sound of half-frozen waves, the creaking, groaning sound of ice on ice, snapping as it breaks. Too many have been lost here, betrayed by kin.
Cracking echoes through me. Water and ice drag me down. My daughter… frozen fingers unbending. She needs to live.
The battle turns against us, stench of blood and smoke chokes us. Where are you, cousin? I trusted you.
My arms are heavy, exhausted from hours of fighting. This was your war, not mine. Where are you? I feel their condemnation and despair. I am choking. Was I wrong to trust?
The field is littered with the dead, strangers, friends and kin shattered over the ground. WHERE ARE YOU?!
Gondolin’s trumpets ring though darkness, hope flickers in the faces of those around me as they fall. I stand alone now against the Valarauka. My heart breaks, we have been betrayed.
“Mother?” His voice is small, dazed. I curl tighter around him, trying to stay strong, to protect him. Mother is dead. Can I tell him that?
I feel lost and small. But I am not small; I am big now, seven years old. Mother said I need to look after him, I am older than him with two whole hours.
What should I do now, mother? I am so cold. He has stopped crying and grown tired, his body heavy and so cold, we have been here for two nights. “Elurín,” I whisper in the silence. “Elurín, are you asleep?”
I stay quiet as I promised, my brother does the same. We promised mother. She was crying, promising she would be back soon. So we hide under the bed, clinging to each other.
I know why mother was afraid. She lost her brothers when she was little. I remember, she told us. I wonder if we will die.
I look at the boots that stop in front of the bed and cannot help the scream that escapes me when the owner of the boots leans down, looking at us. His hair is red and I scowl. Will we die now?
The air is burning. Too much smoke, too much running. Sweet Valar is there no mercy? Concentrate. Fight. Defend those weaker, keep moving.
Ecthelion dead, the Tower fallen, our king lost. Will it never end? Will this damned night never end?!
They are hunting us, like frightened animals skittering up the mountain too dangerous, too close to the ravine.
We are almost through as it comes. To death and despair. To hope and life. Drawing my sword, attacking, blade sinking into the body of the beast, a hand of flame tangling in hair. I fall. Valar is there no mercy?
I stare over the sea, over to where I can still see the faint lights of the isle, gliding through the water. They did not wait. They have forsaken us.
If I close my eyes I can almost see it, the light from the trees of which Elwë spoke. It sounded a fanciful tale of a child as he talked, feverishly, of a land where the sky was bright and the light of stars poured out of one tall tree, but I wished to see it. I ached for that light. I imagine liquid stars upon my tongue as tears burn behind my eyes.
Elwë was lost, our leader, our strength and the people scattered. We searched long while the others left, the first and second kindred gone already, to the light. I begged, I pleaded and we went forward, pausing only for one last search before we left.
Now I stand here, watching the isle of my people fade into darkness. We are betrayed, left behind, forsaken by the king who begged us to search once more. The light… I so badly wanted to see the light, just once.
We are the forsaken ones, the Eglath of the sea.
The Valar lifted the ban they placed upon our people; they forgave us, the Noldori, for what was done. But they begged no forgiveness of us. They said nothing of their silence, their willingness to let the western lands suffer and die under an enemy they dared not face. Nothing of their own pride and spite I will not crawl for cowards and beg their mercy.
They turned their back on us, centuries of death and so I turn my back on them. Rot in your paradise and choke on the empty praise your servants offer. Galadriel will not crawl.
I tasted their distrust as years grew older, the eldest son of Finwë blinded - your passion burnt of greed and spite. The looks in our direction, little sons - the seven - taught to hate.
In me the fire burnt the deepest, father. I was the one that carried name and face. You named me for your likeness, marked me, cursed me. Long before the swords and fire and betrayal.
I played obedient son, the most beloved, for far to long until there was no else. The fire burnt to ash, the cinders smothered. My life was always yours and never mine.
Broken bodies scatter the floor, a sickening reminder of the dwarves. Feet slipping in gore, I walk further into the heart of Menegroth. My niece rules here now with Lúthien’s son.
I hear steps behind me that pause, feeling for pulses, looking for life, there is none. Doriath has fallen. The taste of vomit burns in the back of my throat as I reach the rooms, they lie here, Elúchil and Nimloth, like bloodied ragdolls.
Galadriel’ kin lies dead beside my King and Queen, Kinslayers. Briefly I hate her before horror arises anew. Sweet merciful Elbereth where are the children?
She claimed abuse, whispered words of sorcery, there were neither. She was my salvation, my hope. The white lady of the Noldor.
She took my child and spread falsehood against me, our son, the child I loved, expecting me to stay behind like a kicked dog. Heel Moriquendi at the feet of your masters?
They call me black of heart and soul; her hands are stained by blood of Kin. I am not the one that laughed in the hunt, eyes shining as they look at fallen prey.
Moriquendi, you name me, yet I was not the lover of blood.
Love turns so easy to hatred, beloved, desire to disgust and despair. I was born under the light of Telperion, did you honestly think me happy here? I hate the light of your beloved stars, so faint and pale. You know nothing of beauty.
I was born a princess, beloved, not made to live like this. You think yourself a smith? I saw the greatest of the smiths and you pale are nothing, even Finrod the beloved, the boring, would outshine you.
I can crush you easily, the right whispers in my brothers’ ears. Lies are no strangers to me…
My halls are empty. Achingly empty. Were they once filled of laughter, were there once children playing on the floors? It has been long since this house saw love and joy.
Despair and grief made heavy steps as we returned, shamed and sickened. The Valar forgave our rebellion and the blood on our hands, yet I never touched the sword.
There was hatred in her eyes as I stood before her. She hated the blood in my veins and the flesh from my father. She hated me for our children’s choices, for following the cousins that slain their mother’s kin.
A choice? To accept my brother’s death as a gift from the one? To accept my own? Is death a gift or curse, to rest and to forget and cease to be?
I hear him breathe but else the room is silent. The choice is mine he said, he has made his. What did he chose? Why will he not tell me?!
Air too thick to breathe, too thick to swallow, a band of iron tightening my chest. I close my eyes. “I will follow the Eldar,” I say, certain I guessed right.
“I chose the Men,” come the reply.
I wake up screaming, yet another nightmare, another dream of darkness and of death.
Tales of Alqualondë travelled, with the Teleri and with the Returned. I wonder sometimes, my beloved, if you stood aside, defended or attacked. I questioned, but no one that I asked has words to tell.
Your father rules the city on the hilltop, quiet buildings echoing grief and shame. My feet has often touched the streets of marble, entered through the gate and then gone home. I have no words for broken Kings or fathers’, I have no peace to offer him and none for me.
There is nothing but the scream of pain and grief. Nothing else, no emotions, no reality. Blistered hands held to close to fire as I reach out, trying to reach him, trying to find him as my brother holds me back.
Father laughs somewhere, claimed by madness, ruled by insanity. Ambarussa is gone.
The cinders fade and die, ashes in the wind coating my face, my tongue as the scream continues. Is that you Ambarussa? Am I wearing you on my face and hands? I slump in Nelyo’s arms all strength forgotten. The Ambarussa are no more, I am lost.
The air is heavy and the stars are faint, even the voices of my sons are distant.
I stare at the stars, those which my father was born beneath, those that he loved and honoured, the stars that emboldened him on the Long Journey. I want to close my eyes, to shudder, to know that I failed him in life, but my eyes remains open.
I should have let him love and to be happy, should have given him as much as he gave me. Instead I forced him to chose, son against son.
Insanity took me at his murder and now I die with bloodied hands and soul. Father, do you still love me?
Someone trickle water on my face, a soft voice whispering words I cannot hear. Nerdanel, is that you? No… No… I forgot… Nerdanel is not here. Nerdanel the wise stood strong where I faltered. One of our sons then, Macalaurë… the one with her voice.
I have cursed them, damned them and bound them to suffer. My own sons. I struggle to breath, to release them from the oath I forced upon them but instead I choke. I am dying. Please, my sons…. Forgive me…
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